Letters to the Editor, May 20

May. 20, 2014 @ 09:58 AM

Protect farm-worker children

I am writing in response to the recent report released by Human Rights Watch entitled “Tobacco’s Hidden Children: Hazardous Child Labor in U.S. tobacco farming.” I agree that it is time for U.S. law to protect farmworker children just as it does for children working in every other industry.

I come from a tobacco farming family in East Tennessee that farmed burley tobacco. I still even have a few pictures of me at 11 or 12 riding on the back of a planter. However, working at 12 on my family’s farm is much different than working on a corporate farm as the children in the report were doing. Corporate farms use more pesticides and grow more acreage than a family farm. Also, children working on such farms do not receive the training or supervision necessary to perform this hazardous work. I assure you that my granddaddy and uncle watched over my cousins and me while we were working. Not only that, but I remember being taught how to perform the work, and I was never allowed to top the tobacco until I was much older.

Children working on big N.C. tobacco farms are allowed to work during each step of the tobacco harvest. They are being exposed to high levels of nicotine and pesticides, which is damaging their developing bodies. It is time our child labor laws protect farm-worker children from hazardous work. This is 2014, not 1930. It’s time that our law looked like it.

Rachel  L Wright


Stop defending failing schools

I read with great interest the May 14 article "Durham could get 3 new charter schools in 2015."

Especially interesting was the comment made by school board member Natalie Beyer when she said, "I think we need more oversight from the state to shut down ineffective charter schools in our community." Why not use some of the oversight the state already has and shut down of few of the ineffective public schools in our communities?

Not a chance! Instead, we'll take more money and pump it into those ineffective public schools. When will the school board stop defending the failing school system and get behind the idea of supporting increased opportunities for students?

Laurin Milton


Hold Clinton, Obama accountable

Hello, liberals, four people died. Get it?

Benghazi must be investigated to the fullest because four people died. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have to be held accountable so this does not happen again

This country made a mistake on Nov. 6, 2012. If it elects Hillary Clinton in 2016 it will make another one.

Lee Stem